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26 November 2017, 12:23 | Bernice Figueroa
Police clash with protesters of the Tehreek-i Labaik Yah Rasool Allah Pakistan religious group during a protest in Islamabad
The protests, which spread on Saturday to several other cities in Pakistan, have left about 200 injured, including dozens of police officers.
The federal government has issued a notification and directed Pakistan Army to send troops to take control over the capital s security and ensure peace.
Activists of Tehreek-e-Labaik had earlier stormed the residence of Law Minister Zahid Hamid in Sialkot, reported local media, as security forces struggled to end the 20-day protests at Faizabad .
The clashes started after police officials surrounded the protesters at the sit-in area in Faizabad, on the road which connects Rawalpindi to Islamabad. "Suggested to handle Islamabad Dharna (sit-in) peacefully avoiding violence from both sides as it is not in national interest and cohesion", said spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor.
There are prison vans, ambulances at the site.
Last month, legislation meant to pave the way for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to return as ruling party head modified the clause, in what the government called a "clerical mistake". Helicopters and drones are being used by the authorities for aerial surveillance.
Policeman fires at protesters
The security forces could not arrest the sit-in leadership including Khadim Hussain Rizvi till now.
It is worth mentioning that the government's strict decision of operation against the Faizabad protestors has backfired and protests have erupted throughout the nation. Protesters, some wearing gas masks, fought back in scattered battles across empty highways and surrounding neighbourhoods. Lahore's entry and exist points have been blocked by the protesters.
The protesters want the resignation of law minister Zahid Hamid for altering the declaration of lawmakers with regard to Finality of the Prophethood - a change which the government has already reversed. Traffic jam has choked arteries near Data Darbar.
In an unprecedented move, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority ordered all private television channels to go off air for airing a live feed of the police action on the protesters. There are also reports of social media blackout in some parts of Pakistan.
Ahsan Iqbal said that protesters had been holding Twin Cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi hostage for last 20 days, adding that few elements were misleading innocent minds.
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